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Valentino Retrospective | Somerset House

Somerset House takes on a major new exhibition celebrating the life and work of Valentino from 29th November.

Valentino: Master of Couture explores the glamorous world of haute couture created by the legendary Italian designer over a 50 year career.

The retrospective showcases previously unseen personal photographs, couture invitations and images of Valentino at work and play from his personal archive in Wideville (France) with personal letters from the likes of Anna Wintour, Versace and Manolo Blahnik, Couture sketches and initial designs from the Spring/Summer ’89 collections plus 1970’s press cuttings – all creating a timeline of the designer’s great accomplishments.

The highlight of the exhibition is the display of over 130 handmade designs worn by icons such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren, including three gowns from the 2011 and 2012 collections by current House of Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. The grand finale features the wedding dress of Princess Marie-Chantal from her wedding in 1995 and a peek at the artistry techniques that go into making a couture gown.

‘Each of these designs have a beautiful story, the atelier crafted each so diligently by hand, taking hours, sometimes days to complete. The details are incredibly intricate, though outside the runway shows and events, the dresses have rarely been seen, so to be able to showcase these designs at Somerset House, where they can be seen in great detail by the public, is very unique.’ – Valentino

– Sufiyeh Hadian


Valentino Garavani and Natalia Vodianova in Paris 2011 by Kevin Tachman

Valentino Garavani and Natalia Vodianova 2012 by Cathleen Nuandorf

Valentino dress from Spring/Summer 1969, photography by Ruven Afanadoor

Autumn/Winter 1992 Black Velvet Evening Dress

Spring/Summer 2005 Boldini-style chiffon white evening dress

Autumn/Winter 2002 Valentino Red taffeta evening gown

Autumn/Winter 2002 Floral Print taffeta evening outfit

Autumn/Winter 2002 embroidered oriental dress

Spring/Summer 1998 Ivory hand-painted evening gown

Spring/Summer 1995 evening gown.


Valentino Retrospective at Somerset House
Opens 29th November – 3rd March 2013

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